Finish It or Else

Sometimes you get lucky and other times you get what you deserve. Svedsen in Nordic skiing in the Olympics got lucky. Desean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles got what he deserved. It happens in all sports.

Ah yes, the all too popular chest thumping, look-at-me, show off, too early victory or scoring celebration.

This is a sign of mental game let down. It is a sign of a lack of mental toughness. Mentally tough individuals play to the end. Mentally tough individuals just finish it. Why? Because they know it ain’t over until it’s over. True, they may get away with these early celebrations sometimes – mocking their opponents in the process – but it invariably catches up with them.

Mental toughness means playing to the end. We would like to think that professional and elite athletes are better than this. They reach their level of success by being mentally tough. But it just isn’t so. They may be tough in some ways but not in this critical aspect. And it is the perfect ingredient for the upset, come-from-behind, dark horse win. And it is the reason that if you are behind -you never, ever give up. Because that yoyo in front of you just might hand you the victory.

Now for the most part I could care less about these yoyos. They are big boys and girls and get what they deserve. But what I find disturbing is the examples they are setting for our youth athletes. Youth are being taught that it’s ok for you as an athlete – not to take care of business. It’s part of the game to mock opponents. It’s ok to leave your work undone. It’s ok to let not only yourself down but also your family friends and teammates.

This mental toughness is bred in practice. Coaches, parents and teammates should never accept this behavior. Finish that workout. Finish those reps. Finish that drill. Do not let up short of the line (scoring line or finish line). And keep executing one move one play and one step at a time in the direction you want to go.

If you don’t I can tell you that I for one, and every one my athletes will be right there to take advantage of your ego. Because we finish it.

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